Chapter 379: Back to Square One
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
"Then. Would you want to join us, and contribute to this movement against the church?" If Benjamin did not pose this question to the bunch of mages standing before him, he would feel sorry for the effort he gave into making The Declaration of the Freedom of Magic.
However, the secluded mages looked reluctant after they heard his question. Once again, they looked towards the wheelchair-bound man.
"We promised the elder that we would not leave this desert freely," said one of the mages, "One of the reasons we chose to live in seclusion here was because we were fed up with the drama within the circle of mages in Ferelden. We do not want to return to those meaningless conflicts anymore."
Benjamin immediately answered, trying to persuade them, "No one could truly stay clear of these fights. Even if you do not seek for them, they would come knocking at your door."
Still, everyone looked at the wheelchair-bound man, as if there was really a certain code that they could not break as an organization, and the only one who held power over these rules were their elder.
"Elder, I feel that theres reason behind his words. We shouldnt hide here anymore," advised a mage.
All eyes were back on the wheelchair-bound man. Nonetheless, he waved dismissively as he turned his back towards the crowd, his wheelchair angled away from them, "Stop this. I will not allow you to walk towards your deaths."
After they heard his words, some of the mages looked very disappointed. However, some of them were completely unaffected, as if they had already expected his answer.
Benjamin felt a headache creeping up from the back of his head. He had never expected the key to persuading the participation of the secluded mages would finally land on one incredibly stubborn man, who was stuck in a defense mechanism as he dealt with his trauma.
He tried to toe the line. "You really have no desire to go against the church anymore? I dont believe that."
"..... I do. But, I will not do anything stupid ever again." The wheelchair-bound man answered.
"You shouldnt always try to predict the future based on your past experiences. A past failure does not guarantee a future one," Benjamin pushed on.
The idea of revolution was like a wildfire - a spark would be enough to set a whole field on fire, and it would never completely extinguish. Since he stood and fought against the church before, there would always be traces of that crushing desire for revenge left somewhere in his heart, no matter how devastating his defeat was.
He contained it and Benjamin held a firm belief to that.
"Im not saying that you would fail. But have you thought about the number of people that would be sacrificed in the process?" The man sighed lowly in his wheelchair, his words dragged, "Those mages who fought with me, they were an enthusiastic bunch. They never admitted defeat and sworn to make the church disappear from the face of this world. They were the best bunch of people Ive ever seen, but now?"
He turned his head mid-sentence, just to gaze at Benjamin with empty, guilt-ridden eyes.
"Now, theyre all dead."
Benjamin was at a lost for words.
The room filled with the mans trembling voice as he continued, "They were my best friends. They never had the thought of giving up despite the plummeting circumstances; instead, they dragged me back from Deaths door by throwing in their lives instead, one by one. Do you understand how that felt? Everyone youve ever loved and cared for, perished in front of your eyes, one at a time, and there was nothing you could do but hide your head between your hands and run. Run like a chased rat."
He inhaled. "There would be a voice in your heart that screams, You killed them! Its all because of your foolish and pointless dreams that they paid for with their own lives! What else could you do? You could only flee for your life, and watch with your own eyes as your companions walk towards their destruction! To find that in the end, their sacrifices were worthless; the church still remained as it was, and the person who they exchanged their lives for became a wreck."
Pindrop silence. The room was shocked still, and the mages stared at the man. They could not imagine that he had experienced those events.
The man pushed the wheelchair over once again to face the crowd. He questioned Benjamin with bloodshot eyes, "What about you?"
"Have you prepared yourself?" A pained smile colored his face, "Youre their leader. If the mission fails, every single one of your comrades will die, one by one. Some of them would even perish right in front of you, a life sacrificed for your own. Then, when the last moments arrive, you will shout I want to go with you!, but they would knock you out with their bare hands, send you away, then smile as they face Death himself."
Benjamin was quiet. He could not help himself but take in much-needed oxygen.
If failure really does descend.
At that moment, the faces of the mages working under him flooded his mind. Joanna, the boss lady, Varys. Benjamin could even imagine the smile they would wear moments before their demise, the words they would utter before they fell into nothingness.
That sudden rush of melancholy forced Benjamins eyes to close.
"It seems like youre not ready," said the wheelchair-bound man as he shook his head, "Youre just like me before this. Your eyes were always fixated on the great ambition, and no thought was given to the paid price in the events of a failure."
".....No, Ive thought of it." Benjamins voice was calm as he spoke, his eyes bright.
The man halted.
"If we fail, well just embrace our deaths," Benjamins words were slow and clear, "It is normal to sacrifice for a cause if one wants to make a change. Even if they died for this, their demise was to build a path of hope. They worked hard and hustled for their dreams, and walked to the end of the line while fulfilling their aspirations. No one would sympathize them."
The man was silent for a while. He then continued, "Thats what you think. I will never let these people leave with you. I wouldnt be able to go through another crippling experience like that if you failed."
The mages exchanged nervous glances. No one had any idea of what they should do. Benjamin suddenly felt useless, too. How would he be able to persuade the man if that was his argument? However, just as Benjamin wanted to stop pushing, a thought flashed past his mind.
He had led the fight against the church and waved its flag at its forefront.
"Pardon my rudeness, but may I know your name?" Benjamins expression shifted as he blurted.
The man was quiet. "I have many names. Greg was my given name from my parents. Then, I was brought and raised in the church as an undercover mage. I was called Henderson at that time."
"What about your comrades?" Benjamin asked again.
"They.. they call me Morris."
Benjamin inhaled sharply when he heard that. "Do you know someone with the name of Michelle?" He quickly asked.
The man looked slightly befuddled, and he answered, shaking his head,"No, I dont. Who is she?"
Benjamin frowned as he considered that. Then, he continued, "She was a Holy Knight for the church, and her name in the church was something like. Christine? She named herself Michelle after she became a mage."
"Christine?" Morris was stunned, his voice filled with surprise. "The niece of the Bishop of St Peters Cathedral? The only female Holy Knight? She became a mage?"
Benjamin was taken aback by that revelation. Michelle was the niece of that bishop? Are you serious?
From the mans clear expression, that piece of information should not be a mistake. Why would he be left in the dark? This was such a shocking truth!
"Oh, how f*cking long can your reflex arc be?" The System popped up and commented.
"What do you mean? You knew?" Benjamin asked in his heart.
"Of course I didnt, no one told us the relationship between Michelle and the bishop, right?" The System sounded very dignified, "I was just suddenly filled with inspiration and felt the description would fit you."
Benjamin shifted his attention back to reality. He studied the wheelchair-bound man, Morriss expression, and suddenly realized that there might be some misunderstanding here.
He contemplated for a moment before he explained, "Yeah. She became a mage and ended up publicly opposing the church. She saved me when I was escaping Havenwright, and she told me to go to Ferelden and seek for her mentor, Morris."
Morris maintained his silence after that. The surrounding mages exchanged nervous glances again, their faces colored with surprise. They had no idea how the story would unfold beyond this.
After 5 minutes of prolonged silence, Morris finally spoke, his words dragged, "Christine. Or the Michelle you mentioned. We never really had any exchanges before this. I used to think she was a loyal believer and protector of the church. I even suspected that she had found out of my betrayal and was spying on me."
Benjamin fell into deep thought after that. Moments later, he said, "Maybe she did find out about your betrayal. Then, she too chose to turn her back against the church."
Morris still looked stunned. His words left him.
Benjamin laughed lowly. He turned and reached for his bag, taking the initial copy of the mages version of Holy Bible out of it.
"She gave me this book. It was also the first magical book that Ive ever come into contact with," Benjamin said calmly while he passed the book to Morris, "She died on the road of revolution. After she passed on, her resentment refused to let her go and it even transformed into a revenant to rescue me from Havenwright. Thus, I held on to this book that you wrote, escaped the Kingdom of Helius, went past Icor, and arrived at Ferelden. The road here was filled with turbulence and suffering, but I can finally return this book to you."
Morriss breath stuttered at that. His fingers were shaking the moment he held the Holy Bible between them.
Suddenly, he flipped the book open to the last page. On it wrote the sentence that touched Benjamin, You are the 57th person to finish this book. Please pass this book to the people who need it, and continue to spread the magic.
When Morris flipped to the last page, the numbers within the words shifted. At last, it changed from 57th to 1st.
In that split second, Benjamin could clearly see the tears in Morriss eyes. His eyes were red.
"See? You didnt fail," Benjamin continued, "The fight will never fail, it will only halt temporarily. Without you realizing, the spirit of revolution passed from you to Michelle, and Michelle to me. And now, I will pass the spirit back to you, once again."
Morris raised his chin and looked at Benjamin with helpless eyes.
A smile lit Benjamins face. "You never taught Michelle anything. Yet, she still named you as her mentor," Benjamin said, "Maybe, in her eyes, the man who was named Morris by her mage comrade was an incredible man. Even if he was defeated by the church and fled the country, he will definitely return. That was why she would scream at me to find you, even minutes before her death."
His tone turned cold as he suddenly stopped smiling. "She mustve thought that Morris mustve been working hard to push himself to regain his strength. After all, he had the lives of his comrades riding on his back. She mustve thought that he would strive to become stronger, and one day, take revenge against the church.."
"And not a self-pitying, disappointing wimp."
Morris shut his eyes tightly, his hands wrapped around the Holy Bible with a death grip. Two droplets of tears flowed freely from his eyes.
When A Mage Revolts Chapter 379
Chapter 379: Back To Square One
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